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1.  Composite Indices Using 3 or 4 Components of the Core Data Set Have Similar Predictive Ability to Measure Disease Activity in RA: Evidence from the DANCER and REFLEX Studies 
Autoimmune Diseases  2013;2013:367190.
Background. Understanding how disease-assessment indices perform in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) clinical trials can inform their use in routine practice. The study objective was to assess the capacity of combinations of RA Core Data Set measures to distinguish rituximab from control treatment. Methods. Post hoc analysis of two randomised clinical trials was used. Composite Efficacy Indices were derived by combining three or four RA Core Data Set measures from three possible sources: physician, patient, and laboratory. Results. All 105 Composite Efficacy Indices evaluated significantly distinguished rituximab from control treatment (P < 10−7). Generally, indices containing measures from three different sources had a greater capacity to distinguish rituximab from control treatment than indices containing three measures from one source. Composite Efficacy Indices performed as well as validated indices such as DAS28, RAPID3, and CDAI. Conclusions. All indices composed of three or four RA Core Data Set measures have a similar capacity to detect treatment differences. These results suggest that the precise measurement used is less important than whether any measurement is performed, although selection should be consistent for each patient. Therefore, the choice of assessment tool should not be limited to a prescribed list and should instead be left to the clinician's discretion.
PMCID: PMC3867865  PMID: 24368941
2.  Determinants of Discordance in Patients’ and Physicians’ Rating of Rheumatoid Arthritis Disease Activity 
Arthritis care & research  2012;64(2):206-214.
To assess the determinants of patients’ (PTGL) and physicians’ (MDGL) global assessment of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) activity and factors associated with discordance among them.
A total of 7,028 patients in the Quantitative Standard Monitoring of Patients with RA study had PTGL and MDGL assessed at the same clinic visit on a 0–10-cm visual analog scale (VAS). Three patient groups were defined: concordant rating group (PTGL and MDGL within ±2 cm), higher patient rating group (PTGL exceeding MDGL by >2 cm), and lower patient rating group (PTGL less than MDGL by >2 cm). Multivariable regression analysis was used to identify determinants of PTGL and MDGL and their discordance.
The mean ± SD VAS scores for PTGL and MDGL were 4.01 ± 2.70 and 2.91 ± 2.37, respectively. Pain was overwhelmingly the single most important determinant of PTGL, followed by fatigue. In contrast, MDGL was most influenced by swollen joint count (SJC), followed by erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) and tender joint count (TJC). A total of 4,454 (63.4%), 2,106 (30%), and 468 (6.6%) patients were in the concordant, higher, and lower patient rating groups, respectively. Odds of higher patient rating increased with higher pain, fatigue, psychological distress, age, and morning stiffness, and decreased with higher SJC, TJC, and ESR. Lower patient rating odds increased with higher SJC, TJC, and ESR, and decreased with lower fatigue levels.
Nearly 36% of patients had discordance in RA activity assessment from their physicians. Sensitivity to the “disease experience” of patients, particularly pain and fatigue, is warranted for effective care of RA.
PMCID: PMC3703925  PMID: 22052672
3.  Contest outcome in a territorial butterfly: the role of motivation 
In many butterfly species, males compete over areas advantageous for encountering females. Rules for contest settlement are, however, largely unknown and neither morphological nor physiological traits can reliably predict the contest outcome. Here, we test the hypothesis that contests are settled in accordance with a motivation asymmetry. We staged contests between males of Pararge aegeria and after removing the resident, the non-resident was allowed (i) either to interact with a non-receptive female for 30 min (n = 30) or (ii) to spend 30 min alone in the cage (n = 30), after which the initial resident was reintroduced. The results show that males that had interacted with a female had a higher probability of becoming dominant and reversing contest outcome. Moreover, males that were faster to take over a vacant territory when the resident was removed were more likely to become dominant. Here, we show for the first time, to our knowledge, that frequent encounters with a mated female can increase male motivation to persist in a territorial contest in a butterfly. Further, we suggest that variation in intrinsic motivation reflects male eagerness to take over vacant territory. This study indicates that variation in resource value and motivational asymmetries are important for settling contests in butterflies.
PMCID: PMC2982028  PMID: 20462910
sexual selection; Lepidoptera; mate locating behaviour; loser effect; resource-holding potential
4.  Cardiovascular disease in patients with rheumatoid arthritis: results from the QUEST-RA study 
We analyzed the prevalence of cardiovascular (CV) disease in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and its association with traditional CV risk factors, clinical features of RA, and the use of disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) in a multinational cross-sectional cohort of nonselected consecutive outpatients with RA (The Questionnaires in Standard Monitoring of Patients with Rheumatoid Arthritis Program, or QUEST-RA) who were receiving regular clinical care.
The study involved a clinical assessment by a rheumatologist and a self-report questionnaire by patients. The clinical assessment included a review of clinical features of RA and exposure to DMARDs over the course of RA. Comorbidities were recorded; CV morbidity included myocardial infarction, angina, coronary disease, coronary bypass surgery, and stroke. Traditional risk factors recorded were hypertension, hyperlipidemia, diabetes mellitus, smoking, physical inactivity, and body mass index. Unadjusted and adjusted hazard ratios (HRs) (95% confidence interval [CI]) for CV morbidity were calculated using Cox proportional hazard regression models.
Between January 2005 and October 2006, the QUEST-RA project included 4,363 patients from 48 sites in 15 countries; 78% were female, more than 90% were Caucasian, and the mean age was 57 years. The prevalence for lifetime CV events in the entire sample was 3.2% for myocardial infarction, 1.9% for stroke, and 9.3% for any CV event. The prevalence for CV risk factors was 32% for hypertension, 14% for hyperlipidemia, 8% for diabetes, 43% for ever-smoking, 73% for physical inactivity, and 18% for obesity. Traditional risk factors except obesity and physical inactivity were significantly associated with CV morbidity. There was an association between any CV event and age and male gender and between extra-articular disease and myocardial infarction. Prolonged exposure to methotrexate (HR 0.85; 95% CI 0.81 to 0.89), leflunomide (HR 0.59; 95% CI 0.43 to 0.79), sulfasalazine (HR 0.92; 95% CI 0.87 to 0.98), glucocorticoids (HR 0.95; 95% CI 0.92 to 0.98), and biologic agents (HR 0.42; 95% CI 0.21 to 0.81; P < 0.05) was associated with a reduction of the risk of CV morbidity; analyses were adjusted for traditional risk factors and countries.
In conclusion, prolonged use of treatments such as methotrexate, sulfasalazine, leflunomide, glucocorticoids, and tumor necrosis factor-alpha blockers appears to be associated with a reduced risk of CV disease. In addition to traditional risk factors, extra-articular disease was associated with the occurrence of myocardial infarction in patients with RA.
PMCID: PMC2453774  PMID: 18325087
5.  Mating success of resident versus non-resident males in a territorial butterfly 
Male–male competition over territorial ownership suggests that winning is associated with considerable benefits. In the speckled wood butterfly, Pararge aegeria, males fight over sunspot territories on the forest floor; winners gain sole residency of a sunspot, whereas losers patrol the forest in search of females. It is currently not known whether residents experience greater mating success than non-residents, or whether mating success is contingent on environmental conditions. Here we performed an experiment in which virgin females of P. aegeria were allowed to choose between a resident and a non-resident male in a large enclosure containing one territorial sunspot. Resident males achieved approximately twice as many matings as non-residents, primarily because matings were most often preceded by a female being discovered when flying through a sunspot. There was no evidence that territorial residents were more attractive per se, with females seen to reject them as often as non-residents. Furthermore, in the cases where females were discovered outside of the sunspot, they were just as likely to mate with non-residents as residents. We hypothesize that the proximate advantage of territory ownership is that light conditions in a large sunspot greatly increase the male's ability to detect and intercept passing receptive females.
PMCID: PMC1914333  PMID: 17472909
Lepidoptera; contest success; mate locating behaviour; female choice; mate choice; butterfly vision

Results 1-5 (5)